Majestic Valley plan gets favorable response

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— Despite the project's proximity to a city water supply, the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission gave mostly favorably feedback to a plan to build 21 homes and three commercial buildings along U.S. Highway 40.

Developer Chuck Dunagin brought his pre-application plans forward Thursday night for a 4.4-acre development at the east entrance of town.

Majestic Valley Subdivision, which is north of the Steamboat Christian Center Church, proposes a mixture of retail or light commercial buildings, live-work units and residential homes.

Coming into the hearing, one of the most pressing concerns was the development's proximity to an infiltration gallery.

The site sits 300 feet away from the infiltration gallery, which is a kind of horizontal well that provides drinking water to the city.

At Thursday night's meeting, Mount Werner Water and Sanitation District, which owns the infiltration gallery, said the development encompasses a two-year, five-year and 10-year area of influence.

That means if a drop of water or a chemical spill fell on that site it could take two, five or 10 years before reaching the infiltration gallery.

The developer said through grading, the site would have water runoff draining into the northeast corner of the site, which is out of any area of influence and therefore not likely to leak into the city's water supply.

Bob Stoddard, manager of Mount Werner Water, said the two still have to work through issues with infilling the site and could have mitigation criteria similar to those set forth for the neighboring Riverplace co-housing project.

"We do what we think will safeguard the city's water," Stoddard said.

Stoddard did say because the infiltration galleries are taking ground water, the water does not go through a treatment process that would filter out any household chemicals that would be dumped on the site and could eventually make its way to the galleries.

The majority of the planning commissioners were willing to accept the proximity to the water supply, but Planning Commissioner Dick Curtis did express concern that if a chemical spill occurred it might not get filtered out before reaching the city's water supply.

Along with the proximity to the infiltration galleries, the planning commission discussed possible variances from the city code the development would require.

Planning Commission Chairman Kathi Meyer said the current plans could need variances to allow for the height of buildings, larger sizes for the 11 live-work units and sidewalks that do not have connections along U.S. 40.

"I think the board is willing to look at some or all of these in order to make it a better project," Meyer said.

The Majestic Valley Subdivision is part of the 7.68-acre Willowgreen Subdivision with the other half proposed for the Riverplace co-housing project.

In September, the City Council heard the pre-application plans for Riverplace and said in the next round it would like to see plans for the other half of the subdivision.

The plans for Majestic Valley Subdivision came before the planning department soon after that.

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